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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2570 ..

MR DEPUTY (continuing):

I do not believe Ms Gallagher's proposal obstructs the Assembly or is unnecessarily repetitive. In fact, it provides an alternative course to the Assembly, and for that reason I have concluded that it does not breach the provisions of standing order 136. So the matter may proceed.

Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Repeal Bill 2001

[Cognate bill:

Medical Practitioners (Maternal Health) Amendment Bill 2002]

Debate resumed from 12 December 2001, on motion by Mr Berry:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with order of the day No 3? There being no objection, that course will be followed. I would remind members that, in addressing their remarks to order of the day No 2, they may also address their remarks to order of the day No 3.

MR SMYTH (5.20): Mr Deputy Speaker, it is a very sad day when we are afraid of the provision of information. The Health Regulation (Maternal Health Information) Repeal Bill 2001 does exactly that-it takes away the provision of information. One has to ask, why are we afraid to present information to women seeking an abortion about the effect of the procedure?

I refer members to the article on page 13 of today's Canberra Times which Mr Stefaniak read this out morning, headed, "I was railroaded into abortion. Don't weaken the law". This is a lady who feels "let down by the system". In the article, she says:

In my case, the information given to me by the abortion provider about risks was minimal and delivered in a way that trivialised its importance. They made me feel that they knew what was best for me. They didn't prepare me for what I would experience.

This lady says:

I was very confused, and what I really needed was someone to tell me that I would be able to manage... Nobody said "congratulations"...

She says, "When I went to the Family Planning Clinic I wasn't sure if I wanted an abortion." She feels she was railroaded into having an abortion.

That is why this bill should fail. That is why we should keep in place the right, and the insistence on, for people to be given information about what they are about to go through. As I said in the last debate, there are downsides to this. Even if you do not believe they are proven, these downsides are canvassed in many journals and documents. They bear further consideration before we take away the information contained in the Maternal Health Information Regulations.

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